"Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!"
"In the forest, in bright sunshine, when all the buds spring up, it is right in the middle of there that I like to sing a song." (Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, "Gartenlieder," Opus 3, "In the Forest")
Because I am late, there is nowhere to sit but the back pew of the balcony where I rest my head against the nursery window. As the choir fills the rafters with song, deep and melodious, a baby begins to giggle, arias of spontaneous delight.
The months of practice - weeks, going over and over once again, this turn of phrase, the learning of Bulgarian - all to bring to us alive, this moment, a composer's toil and gift of centuries past - accompanied by effortless squeals of a baby's delight.
Yes, it is late, but not too late, I pray, to give to what time, care and great effort alone can do.
And yes, as well, to let go in spontaneous joy, to this great symphony of song, rising around, within.
"We must sing till the song puts forth roots, trunk, branches, birds, stars, we must find the lost word and remember what the blood, the tides, the earth and the body say...." (Eric Whitacre, "Cloudburst," adapted from Octavio Paz, "Cantaro Roto," "The Broken Water Jug")
Yes, here in the back pew, my tears sing out at the audacity, the wonder of such praise.
Yes, may we be open, free, emboldened, and enlivened today, dear God, to join the great chorus, and sing out our Praise. Amen.
Peter Ilgenfritz is a Minister and Member of the Leadership Staff at University Congregational United Church of Christ, Seattle, Washington.